Definition of phlebotomy in US English:



  • The surgical opening or puncture of a vein in order to withdraw blood or introduce a fluid, or (historically) as part of the procedure of letting blood.

    • ‘Experimental reductions in cardiac index and hepatic blood flow induced by phlebotomy are rapidly corrected by albumin resuscitation, whereas crystalloids require double the volume.’
    • ‘Blood was collected by phlebotomy from the antecubital vein.’
    • ‘Patients may also undergo phlebotomy at a blood center.’
    • ‘The performance of phlebotomy by nursing staff benefits the patient in that the blood specimen is collected and intravenous fluids are started at the same time, thus causing less trauma to the patient.’
    • ‘The student should be aware of one cause of pseudohyperkalemia, hemolysis, since it is not an uncommon occurrence when tourniquets are used during phlebotomy or when improper handing of a blood sample causes a breakdown of the cells.’


Late Middle English: via Old French from late Latin phlebotomia from Greek, from phleps, phleb- ‘vein’ + -tomia ‘cutting’.